Here's my top albums of the year. From over 150 long players and EPs and many, many Spotify streams, I've whittled the numbers down.
They're not in any particular order:
Lamb - Backspace Unwind
In Backspace Unwind Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow have produced arguably their best album to date, possibly even trumping What Sound. Their confidence and assuredness can be heard throughout, with many moments of melodic heaven brought to life through simple piano and vocals or, in contrast, with bold electronic sounds.
Top moment: Nobody Else.
With sparse beats, homemade sounds and deceptively simple songs, in Trust, US duo Samia Mirza and Justin Swinburne have combined sweet melodies with explicit lyrics to form a surprisingly addictive pop album.
Top moment: Forgiven.
HTRK - Psychic 9-5 Club
Fourth (or fifth?) album from the Australian lo-fi combo sees them embrace a more tuneful, electronic sound (in contrast to their previous gloomier, guitar-led approach) which will surely have helped raise their profile, in electronic music circles at least. A rather downbeat affair, perfect for those quiet nights in.
Top moment: The Body You Deserve.
Matt Karmil - ----
As I said in my review, there's nothing new in Matt Karmil's music, but there's nothing not to like either. I find it the perfect album to chill out to, the repetitive rhythms and scratchy beats creep up, attach themselves, growing on you, leaving their trace long afterwards.
Top moment: Frankrike (Float).
Answer Code Request - Code
It took a few listens for this beauty of an album to work it's way into my head, which is usually the sign of a decent album. Patrick Gräser clearly understands how to make complex and compelling electronic music. It may be loosely classed as Techno, but there's nothing banging or too challenging to contend with, call it Tasteful Techno ™ if you'd rather.
Top moment: difficult to pick one, but perhaps today, it's Zenith.
Kangding Ray - Solens Arc
A masterful exercise in Ambient Techno from David Letellier. My review covers why Solens Arc works so well. It's difficult to imagine getting tired of listening to this album. If I'd arranged the albums in order, this may have been No.1.
Top moment: Amber Decay.
Jim-E Stack - Tell Me I Belong
It's impossible to define this album in one genre or another, as new producer James Harmon Stack has combined all his influences (R&B, dancehall, beats, hip-hop, electronic music etc.) and made something quite unique. The resounding element though is melody, which always wins the day for me.
Top moment: Is It Me.
Scuba Death - Nitrogen Narcosis
A concept album (I reviewed here) which works, follows Ricardo Donoso as he explores his near death experience scuba diving. Atmospheric, theatrical and exhilarating, it's a journey to relish from the comfort of your headphones.
Top moment: closing track Rapture of the Deep.
Wen - Signals
I'm not a massive grime fan, particularly the rapping side of things, but the debut album from Owen Darby seems to takes the best elements of grime, stripped down beats, poignant vocal samples, head-nodding rhythms and makes astoundingly good music. My review describes the journey you take when you listen from start to finish; quite an experience!
Top moment: You Know.
Call Super - Suzi Ecto
Like all great albums, you're taken on a journey, and with Suzi Ecto it's like being led, blindfolded, to a mysterious far Eastern location before being shown where you've ended up. And with every listen, the warm, mystical sounds, shape-changing, draw out new horizons, fluid, calming, addictive, delightful.
Top moment: Sulu Sekou.
fabric 77: Marcel Dettmann
Marcel Dettman not only turned in easily the best fabric mix of 2014, but perhaps one of the best since the series began. Great pace and variation, perfect combination of melody and banging beats, you never lose interest. Uncompromising excellence.
Top moment: the remixed Dettman tracks are all great, but it's a toss-up between the Dario Zenker and Norman Nodge tracks.
Gesloten Cirkel - Submit X
It's the old-skool eighties sound a lot of these tracks have that first appealled to me, like Submit-X and Stakan but the harder beats of Vadar and catchy melody of Feat. Liette brings balance and cohesiveness to the album as a whole.
Top moment: Feat. Liette.